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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

9 April 2008, 2:00 pm, ELA 245
(Approved by Liberal Arts Council at its meeting on 23 April 2008)

Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman
Council Members: Frank Barrios, Vicki Brittain, Susan Day, Frank de la Teja, Nancy Grayson, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Philip Suckling

1. LAC minutes of meeting on 3-26-08 reviewed; approved online 3-28-08 (Jones Professorship interviews, nominations for GEC representatives, proposals to add and delete courses, CAD update)

2. Congratulations. (a) To the Grosvenor Center for the fine lecture by Dr. Rodrigo Jordan of Chile and reception following (4/1). (b) To Jerry Melbye and the Anthropology department, who have announced that the Forensics Research Facility is to be located on a tract at the Freeman Ranch and that Professor Grady Early has donated $100,000 to support graduate fellowships in forensics anthropology. (c) To the Department of Geography and the Lovell Center for its sponsorship of events featuring Dr. Sylvia Earle. (e) To student members of Sigma Tau Delta (ENG Honor Society) and the Medieval and Renaissance Society, who participated in Bobcat Build (4/5).

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) The Forensics Research Facility and its location have received coverage in an Austin Chronicle cover story (4/4), the Las Vegas Sun (3/24), and other local outlets such as the San Antonio Express-News (2/13). (b) The Los Angeles Times (2/18) reviewed The Flowers, the new novel by Dagoberto Gilb (ENG). (c) Christina Conlee (ANTH) was quoted in a story circulated around the world about the ruins of an Inca temple in Peru; see http://www/ (d) Dr. Jill Preutz, Anthropology graduate, was featured in the substantial article (20+ pages), “Almost Human,” in National Geographic (April 2008). (e) Frank de la Teja (HIST) was the focus of “One for the History Books,” in the alumni magazine, Seton Hall (Winter/Spring 2008). (f) The Rattler Writing Center and its director, Nancy Wilson (ENG), who also directs the Texas State Writing Center, is the “Featured Center” in Praxis: A Writing Center Journal (Spring 2008).

4. Approval of revised Liberal Arts Learning Outcomes for General Education courses. RTA when all faculties approve.

5. CAD update:

(a) Current students who choose 120-hour undergraduate degree programs. Dean Ellis distributed an updated list of all Liberal Arts programs, with approved adjustments intended to meet the State’s requirement to limit undergraduate degree programs to 120 credit hours. She cautioned that advisors and departments should soon anticipate that many current students may elect the new limits and catalog, adding to the workload of advisors who must pull revised degree audits on DARS. Advisors should inform students who have completed many credit hours and who choose the new program that they may no longer be eligible to receive the State’s financial incentive to limit enrollments to the required minimum. Dean Ellis determined to consult with Ms. Morales, Director of Liberal Arts Academic Advising, to verify the number of attempted hours allowed for the financial incentive beyond the minimum number of hours required the program. [The maximum is three hours beyond the limit of attempted hours.]

Council also discussed the requirement that freshmen entering in Fall 2008 under the new catalog may withdraw from no more than six classes.

(b) Online programs.

(1) $150 fee/3-hour online course. Dean Ellis announced the decision of the Provost’s office to split funds from a $150 fee required of students in three-hour online courses. Departments offering online courses will receive 75% of the students’ fees, which sum will be added to their budgets as “Electronic Course Fees.” The University will retain 25% to develop new and support existing courses. The policy will be in effect this summer, with departments who have offered online courses then to receive a lump sum allocation for previously received fees.

Departments may use these course fees only to pay costs related to electronic courses; e.g., they may hire an adjunct to assist a faculty member developing an online course, send someone to a relevant conference, or purchase needed hardware or software.

(2) Notifying SACS of online programs. The Dean announced that programs providing 25% to 49% of the instruction online must notify SACS of their existence; programs with 50% or more of their instruction offered online must seek SACS approval by completing a necessary form. Currently, the only program in Liberal Arts that will require notification is Philosophy’s Graduate Certificate in Professional Ethics. The Department of Philosophy is to complete the required application; Dr. Lochman will obtain the required SACS form from the Provost’s office.

(c) SACS update:

(1) Certifying program faculty. Dean Ellis noted that although few in Liberal Arts are designated “program faculty,” departments who hire such faculty must ensure the University retains their applications, hiring paperwork, and original transcripts; moreover, departments must have records of their annual reviews. She asked chairs to forward to Pat Heath (ph09) a list of all program faculty in their departments. Ms. Heath will help departments identify documents needed by the Faculty Records office.

(2) Faculty rosters. The Provost’s office will distribute spreadsheets listing data required by SACS for each faculty member. When departments receive the spreadsheets, they must review, edit, and certify all information for accuracy and return them to Gaye Korenek in the Faculty Records office. The President will review all records, which will be placed in the University’s SACS site by May 9.

Departments are to complete a column on the spreadsheets that allows justifications for hiring faculty who lack terminal degrees. The Dean advises departments that hire such faculty to compose succinct justifications that specify each instructor’s unique qualifications.

(3) SACS consultant team on campus September 1. Dean Ellis announced that President Trauth has engaged a consulting team to review the University’s preparations and documents for SACS. In September, the team will conduct a two-week review culminating in a critique of Texas State’s preparation for SACS reaffirmation.

(4) Semesters of record for reaffirmation. The Provost’s office has announced that the semesters of record for materials related to reaffirmation are Fall 2008, Spring 2009, and Fall 2009. As of July 2009, the University’s information-gathering phase will end.

6. Merit. Dean Ellis announced that the University will distribute merit allocations, but departments will not receive exact amounts until May. In the interim, chairs are to seek approval from departmental personnel committees for formulae that distribute percentages of high, medium, and low merit to faculty. The Dean will again retain 10% of the merit pool for necessary reallocations; the University will again offer no funds for equity. Dr. Hennessy requested that faculty rosters be sent to departments prior to distribution of merit funds so that chairs may verify accuracy.

Several Council members expressed concern about salary compression due to recent hires and CUPA data; they asked the Dean to bring evidence of such to CAD.

7. Format for chair evaluation. Dean Ellis noted that her evaluations of chairs and directors will list achievements in each of three categories (Department / Center Management, Strategic Planning, Personal Accomplishments) and summarize faculty evaluations of chairs. She will forward her evaluations to members of the Liberal Arts Faculty Advisory Council, who will in turn make them public to their departments.

8. Policies on LA websites. Council discussed ways to publish updated departmental policies for faculty use at secure sites. Dr. Lochman noted that online sites will simplify the process of updating revised policies. Dr. de la Teja noted that TRACS sites may be secured to limit contents to specific audiences. Dean Ellis encouraged departments to add their updated policies to departmental websites.

Council also discussed a need for automatic backup of important files. Dr. Lochman will consult with technicians to determine whether such files may be backed up by existing University systems.

Around the Table

Dr. Day inquired about the appropriate uses of funds that have been transferred from course fees to other departmental needs. She also inquired whether graduate assistant salaries may be converted to faculty salaries. Dr. de la Teja suggested that former course fees are now designated as tuition, allowing increased flexibility in the use of those funds. Dean Ellis will inquire whether course fees that have been converted to graduate assistant lines can now be converted to faculty lines.


• Thursday, April 10, 3-4 pm, Derrick 111: Dean’s first Open Door meeting for LA faculty
• Monday, April 14, 3-4 pm, ELA 245: Dean’s second Open Door meeting for LA faculty
• Wednesday, April 16, 2 pm, Alkek 119: LAC meets for budget workshop
• Wednesday, April 16, 9 am to 5 pm, LBJSC: Liberal Arts faculty and others participate in the 2nd Annual Native American Cultural Conference
• Saturday, April 19, 10:15 am -12:15 pm, LBJSC Ballroom: Bobcat Day
• Tuesday, April 22: Joann Cole Mitte Faculty Grant Committee forwards top three applications to the Provost; College must review proposals prior to this date
• Thursday, April 24, 6 pm, Centennial Hall Teaching Theatre: Liberal Arts Awards Ceremony
• Friday, April 25: Chairs to complete and submit budget development sheets
• Wednesday, April 30: Departmental decisions for faculty in second and subsequent contract years due to the Dean
• Thursday, May 1: Deadline to submit applications for NEH Fellowships. For information see
• Monday, May 5: Minisession PCRs due to Jamie
• Friday, May 9: Deadline to e-mail to two-page proposals for the two-week Technology Integration Workshop, held in August
• Friday, May 9, 10 am, Strahan: LA Commencement
• Tuesday, July 1: Deadline to submit request to use faculty-authored materials in the fall session (2008). For information on the approval process see